Age-related hearing loss is one of the most common types of hearing loss in the western world. A person's hearing abilities can start to diminish early in life (between the age of 30 and 40). It is usually a slow and constant process that might take a while for the individual to register. Suffering from age related hearing loss means that the tiny and delicate hair cells in your cochlea have begun to wear out and decrease in number. Unfortunately, the process is irreversible, and scientists are still trying to discover how to grow them back. However, although we have found no cure, you can manage the condition and treat it successfully with hearing aids. There are many hearing aids specially designed to make elderly people's lives easier.
When it comes to age related hearing loss, it is very important to diagnose it in time. Experts can then take all possible measures to slow down its progress. Furthermore, this condition can greatly affect the quality of life of the person concerned. It disables their ability to communicate and have an active social life, putting greater emphasis on the importance of early diagnosis. It is imperative to pay attention to the following symptoms and visit an audiologist as soon as possible:
- Hearing sounds in the high frequency area (female voices, a baby’s cry) becomes more difficult.
- Inability to follow a conversation when there are several people talking.
- Speech begins to sound muffled, especially when in a noisy environment.
- It becomes common to “miss” the doorbell or the telephone ring.
- The volume of the TV needs to be turned up, sometimes to levels that can be annoying for other people.
- A constant necessity to ask people to repeat themselves.
There are several ways to obtain a hearing aid. A number of devices are free through the NHS’ services for the hearing impaired. Although the procedure can take a while, it is a reliable way to obtain a device. However, the overwhelming range of hearing solutions, especially the most advanced models, are only available privately through distributors.
These are small shaped devices that fit in or around the ear of the wearer. They help support the parts of the hearing pathway that are no longer working well by amplifying external sounds. (Find out more in our guide to age related hearing loss). Hearing aids using digital technology are available at no cost via the NHS, though a waiting list may apply and types are limited. To learn more about free hearing aids read our guide to nhs hearing aids. Alternatives are to obtain a hearing aid privately from one of the high street chains or online where prices are often much more competitive.
Hard Of Hearing Phones
It is common for the hard of hearing to struggle with telephone conversations. In some cases the volume of the person on the other end of the line is not loud enough and they can struggle with hearing the telephone ringer in the first place. Hard of hearing phones include desk, cordless and even mobile phones that are especially designed for the hard of hearing. They have amplified ringers and adjustable tone control to make it easier to hear speech. They are often very simple to operate and include a large display and keypad with big buttons. These phones are only available privately, though very affordable even when compared with their non-amplified counterparts.
TV Hearing Aids
It is hard to find a household nowadays that does not own a TV. Regardless of the make, size or display technology, the volume levels may not be adequate. Simply increasing the volume may work, however other household members and your next-door neighbour may not find this option as palatable. TV hearing aids are able to deliver the sound solely to the person in need using a wireless headphone unit. It allows the wearer to adjust the volume through the headphone to the required level, while other members who are watching TV can hear through the normal TV speakers at their preferred level. These hearing aids are also only available from private sellers.
Another group of popular hearing aids for the elderly are alerting aids. As the name implies, these alert the user with amplified sound and other sensory triggers such as flashing lights and vibration. The most common are extra loud alarm clocks that differ from common alarm clocks by having an amplified bell or amplified tone and by having flashing lights and vibration pads that are placed under the user’s pillow (depending on the model). Last but not least are a group of amplified doorbells and telephone ring alerters that are portable, extra loud and include flashing lights.
These hearing aids and assistive devices will not help restore the hearing abilities diminished by age related hearing loss, but can allow the elderly to better manage their condition and have its affects feature less prominently in their daily lives.
About Hearing Direct
We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. HearingDirect offers a wide range of affordable products, as well as information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing.
- Hearing aids,
- Accessories such as earplugs,
- and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and amplified phones.
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